Matthew Murphy, Executive Director at Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire, contacted DRED last week to inquire how much money from the general fund would be utilized for Governor Hassan's trip to Turkey. In an email response, DRED's Communications and Legislative Director informed our organization that "a total of $15,000 was set aside out of the general fund for the staff expense related to the Turkey Trade mission, taking place June 20-27."
As a result of this email communication, Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire has filed Right to Know requests with the Governor's Office and with the Department of Resources and Economic Development (DRED) today about the Governor's upcoming trade mission to Turkey in June to confirm that general funds will in fact be used for this trip contrary to her Executive Order.
Text from the Right to Know request is below:
Under the New Hampshire Right to Know Law R.S.A. 91 Ch. 01-A et seq., I am requesting an opportunity to inspect or obtain copies of public records that relate to the International Trade Mission to Turkey scheduled to take place on June 20th-27th, 2014 Headed by Governor Hassan. Specifically we would like the following information;
Who will be part of the trade mission?
What is the total cost of this trade mission and how are these costs paid for and the source of these funds. For example: federal grants, state funds and their source within state budget, and any other sources that are funding this trade mission.
What restrictions are placed on the funds used to pay for this mission?
What departments funds will be used to pay for this trade mission and are these funds part of the general fund budget for the Department of Resources and Economic Development?
If there are any fees for searching or copying these records, please inform me if the cost will exceed $50. However, I would also like to request a waiver of all fees in that the disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest and will contribute significantly to the public's understanding of this trade mission.
Like most Granite Staters, we understand the importance of expanding international trade and attracting businesses to invest in New Hampshire. We also certainly support curtailing wasteful spending. However, considering her upcoming costly trip to Turkey, it is a more than fair to inquire whether Governor Maggie Hassan's Executive Order banning all out of state travel funding is nothing more than political posturing. Considering new information we have uncovered thus far from DRED, there is more than enough evidence to request additional facts.
Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire is anxiously awaiting a response from the Governor's Office and DRED regarding this matter. We will update you on their responses as we receive them.
Governor Maggie Hassan signs a 23% hike in the Gas Tax into law
On Tuesday, Governor Maggie Hassan signed Senate Bill 367 into law, which will increase the state's Gas Tax by 23% to 22 cents per gallon.
From its inception, Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire has strongly advocated for SB 367's defeat. From patch-through phone calls to volunteer phone banks, we worked to inform our legislators of the significant drawbacks to endorsing SB 367. In addition, Matthew Murphy, Executive Director for Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire, wrote an op-ed in opposition to raising the Gas Tax, which was published in the NHJournal and he testified in opposition to it in committees in both the State House and State Senate. Sadly, the current "tax and spend" philosophy of Concord won the day.
We are incredibly disappointed in Governor Maggie Hassan for once again endorsing policies that raise taxes and increase spending. With the passage of SB 367, families will be forced to pay even more when they fill up their tanks. However, the hit will be twofold as they also absorb the burden of increased costs for goods and services passed on from small businesses that use vehicles for transport.
The last thing New Hampshire families need right now is to have more money taken out of their wallets and pocketbooks. However, Governor Maggie Hassan and a majority of our legislators in Concord continue to ignore that fact. Instead of passing Senate Bill 367, they should have taken a hard look at where current revenues are being spent, make the tough decisions to cut when necessary, and fund only our priorities. That's exactly what New Hampshire families do every day, but apparently that concept is just too difficult for Governor Maggie Hassan to understand.
Like Obamacare's Medicaid expansion earlier in the year, Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire worked diligently to try and defeat the Gas Tax increase from the very beginning - even though we knew the odds of stopping it were not in our favor. However, like you, we refuse to allow liberal policies that will hurt Granite State families pass without doing everything in our power to stop them.
Even yesterday, as Governor Maggie Hassan held her press conference to sign her 23% Gas Tax increase into law, we proudly joined AFP New Hampshire for a protest to remind her, and the media, that New Hampshire was not happy with her actions.
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